Nilgün ÖZTÜRK / PHED / METU
‘The awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capabl e... to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver.’
- Richard Dawkins.
- Richard Dawkins.
In the past, human life was not so good that the history told us. For a privileged minority, life was pretty but for the large predominance; it was awful, ugly and short. Mankind is a living creature who is sane, could try to find innovations with their mind and transver knowledge to other generation. Not together with religious dogmas but with the help of science and artifice, mankind reached today’s stage. No longer, today’s people expects regular raise in their life standarts which is provided by the development of science and technology. Today, the world of science pursue to solve and ease the problems of the mankind in the commercial purpose.
On the other hand, community in Turkey still hesitate towards science because they do not understand and rely on science. Science is told in schools with a boring manner. Students are encouraged about memorizing in order to pass, therefore they can not realize the relationship between science and the real world. Science which is learnt by only equations, frighten most of the people. Turkish people have a mentality like ‘ My little food, my warm head.’ With this stance, they do not regard secular life and continue with a life in which they just live from hand to mouth. People in the west try to invent something in their garage but this picture could not be seen in Turkey, unfortunately. Moreover, in turkey, searching fundings of scientific organizations like TUBITAK functions money transfer to religious communities implicitly. TUBA is turned off, even for the sake of political interests. Finally, the effort of seperation from CERN is connected to the justification of lack of infrastructure. With this wrong understanding, we can easily guess the Turkey’s future that is going to the depths of the Middle Ages. Independently of all causes, this depressing table of Turkey’s approach to science must be the most important reason which feed our passion of science teaching as Turkish physics teachers.
Now, we are in the age of science and technology which growing at a dizzying pace. Human life is shaped by science and its welfare is provided by science, too. From the origin of the universe to nanotechnology, from robotics to genomics or from communication and information technology to gene therapy, the war of science and technology continues.
So what is science? A fat textbook? White laboratory coats or microscopes? An astronomer peering through a telescope? Einstein's equations scribbled on a chalkboard? (Online Document, berkeley.edu, nd.) ‘Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.’ (Online Document, Science Council, 2012) In order to find evidences as stated in the above definition, scientists must do researches. In turkey, most of the researches are done in universities. ‘The place of the Turkey in the world’s scientific collocation was 41st in 1983 and 20th in 2006.’ (Bozcuk, A.,N., Neden bilim, neden evrim?, nd.) On the other hand, the number of scientific citations of Turkey and the number of applying for patents do not increase in the same rate. Besides, the share from the Gross National Product for research and development is far back compared with the share in developed countries. Architect of great successes has always been science people and educated brains in the world. In contemporary world the relationship between science and technology is become clear. Therefore, when ‘Why teach science?’ is asked, the short answer of the question is that ‘because science is the key of development’. In addition, unless changing the people through education, development called evolution can not be seen. The big leader ATATÜRK also said ‘Our true mentor in life is science.’
R. Steven Turner adressed the issue why do we teach science and why knowing matters in his paper on science education. In the paper, Turner explored four different arguments which are identified as economic, democratic, skills and cultural arguments that could be used to answer the why question.
In the economic argument, ‘students are channeled upward to post-secondary schools to study science, technology and engineering. The goal is produce more scientists and engineers to meet the supply demands in science-related fields. The problem is that crises in manpower shortages has been greatly exaggerated and only 2/3′s of people majoring in science actually take jobs in science.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010)
In the democratic argument, ‘the curriculum would be quite different than the economic/standards-based design. It would focus on the technological and real-world applications of science. Science curriculum would focus on what students would need to know to participate in key controversies of the time, global warming, energy, environmental issues, and health. The humanistic argument is the central argument in the STSE movement (science, technology, society, environment). The STSE movement is not the dominant paradigm used in science curriculum, although one can find “STSE Standards” in the NSES publication.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.) Yet the research, as reported, supports the inclusion of STSE curriculum in school science, and that it does contribute to positive attitudes among students who take science courses.
In the skills argument, ‘the mere study of science instills certain transferable skills that are important to students’ understanding of science. The skills argument is the process of science argument that is strongly advocated by science education researchers, and by organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association. Indeed, the skills argument claims that students should be involved in hands-on activities, analyze data, and plan open-ended investigations. The skills argument is the argument that suggests that teachers should use an inquiry-approach to teaching and help students learn how to practice inquiry.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.)
In the cultural argument, ‘ the history and philosophy of science should play an integral role in science curriculum. Presently, lip service is played to this approach.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.) Robin Millar argues that we must reduce the amount of content that dominates the science curriculum, and in its place present to students a coherent and cohesive world picture of science that tell students stories of sciences great stories from quarks to superclusters and genes and gerontology. ‘The cultural argument could produce a curriculum that would interest students, and might reduce the general trend which is the more science courses students take, the less they like science.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.)
After the most scientific part of the writing, in conclusion: it is very difficult to make out whether or not there is a future of the world for science people. For Example, because of the time interval for air to centre the world is 5 days, we could made maximum five-day wheather forecast. The rest is up to statistics and the wheater conditions.
Generally, we love everything to be specified before, however; it cannot be; as we never know what is really specified. In general, it is accepted that, universe is evolved by well specified laws. These laws can be new found by scientists as well as God’s laws. Nevertheless; God does not treat to universe to break these laws. The time specified in holly books for the ending of universe has passed several times. All the time there has been an excuse for the passed date and new explanations has appeared. Scientific claims like weather condition reports may not be more correct than prophets and oracles. Regardless of anything, Turkish people must be involved in such kind of studies and join those arguments. For this reason, Turkey should not miss the opportunity of joining the CERN, if they do not want to lose anything about technology and science. There are already more tan 100 Turkish people working in the CERN. The substructure of application of the technologic developments obtained in CERN will occur in Turkey by time. Altough we have a prophet saying ‘If science is at China, go there’ and a leader saying ‘Our true mentor in life is science’, it will be a huge mistake to step back from scientific developments for 70 million dollars. Even though we have the star and the crescent in our national flag, we are very far away from space and universe. It is found really ironic and weird by other nations.
- Understanding Science. 2012. Retrieved from undsci.berkeley.edu/article/whatisscience_01
- The Guardian Science Blog. 2009. Retrieved from www.sciencecouncil.org/definition
- Biyoloji Eğitim. 2011.Retrieved fromwww.biyolojiegitim.yyu.edu.tr/ders/ev/sem/evrb/1.pdf
- J., Hassard. 2010. Retrieved from www.artofteachingscience.org/2010/11/25/why-do-we-
- Taek. 2009. Retrieved from www.taek.gov.tr/uluslararasi/cern/314-cern-deneyleri-ve-